Taking steps in your fitness program to reduce injuries normally isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Most people talk about how they want to lose weight, increase strength or endurance. Rarely do you come across an individual who’s first response on why they stay active is to reduce their chance of injuries. Staying strong, healthy and active is obviously one reason why many don’t get injured but adding some appropriate drills or exercises into your training program geared specifically towards reducing dysfunction should be added to the top of your fitness list.
When it comes to sports and training specifically for your sport I believe it’s become a bit of a gong show. It doesn’t mean that if you love to golf you need to train by mimicking your swing or spend countless hours performing the exact moves you would see in your sport.
As an example, lets take a look at a hockey goalie and their goal in training. Yes, lateral speed and power and reaction may be a couple things that come to mind. Flexibility is also a focus. You might spend countless hours stretching hamstring and Adductor (groin) length but is this giving you the results you want?
One point of concern is lack of hip mobility. The function of the hip joint in each plane of motion. Is it moving freely in a forward, lateral and rotational plane of motion? Mobility is separate from muscle length or “stretching”. Without mobility it is impossible to create stability! That means a weak athlete! I bet you never thought mobility would play a role in strength!
Hamstring length is another topic that is raised the majority of the time. For some, they spend hours stretching their hamstrings because they “feel tight”. The majority of the time that poor little hamstring is in a lengthened position because the anterior muscles (in front) are stronger. This “pull” on the pelvis dominates what the hamstring can do especially if the same-side Glute (butt) is weak and doesn’t do its job! Note to everyone out there… your butt means power! Increase the function and strength of your butt and stop worrying about what it looks like! Think of it as a power machine and not just something to sit on! If you keep stretching your hamstring you keep dealing with the symptom but have missed the cause! An imbalance between internal and external hip rotation, shoulder problems due to a lack of Thoracic spine extension and/or rotation. Have you dealt with these issues? Do you include movement training in your program? Creating strength and stability and power is a wonderful thing to achieve but how are you getting there? Are you taking steps to move better with less dysfunction or are you masking the problem with inadequate training?
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